Lost on Dress Parade (Henry)

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Lost on Dress Parade
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Four Million»
Microsummary: A young architect saved money for luxurious evenings and met a girl who appeared to be working-class. He pretended to be wealthy, but she valued ambition and purpose over idleness.

Towers Chandler, a 22-year-old architect, had a unique way of enjoying life in New York City. He would save one dollar from his weekly earnings of $18, and every ten weeks, he would use the accumulated amount to indulge in a luxurious evening. On these special nights, he would dress impeccably and dine at a fancy restaurant, savoring the experience of being a wealthy idler.

One evening, as Chandler was walking down Broadway, he came across a girl who slipped on the icy sidewalk and fell. He helped her up and learned that she had twisted her ankle. The girl, who introduced herself as Miss Marian, was dressed modestly, appearing to be a working-class girl.

Towers Chandler — young architect, 22yo; saves money for luxurious evenings; handsome, well-dressed, blue eyes; imaginative, pretentious, kind.
Miss Marian — young lady from a wealthy family; poses as a working-class girl; dark brown hair, pretty, refined; insightful, honest, ambitious.

Chandler, feeling sympathetic and wanting to make his evening more enjoyable, invited her to join him for dinner. Miss Marian hesitated at first but eventually agreed.

At the restaurant, Chandler decided to play the part of a wealthy man, talking about clubs, teas, golf, and other high-society activities. He even hinted at having a yacht and being friends with influential people. Miss Marian listened attentively and shared her thoughts on the importance of work and ambition in life.

"I could love a man with dark and kind blue eyes, who is gentle and respectful to poor girls, who is handsome and good and does not try to flirt."

She expressed her desire to help someone build their way up in the world, rather than being with someone who lived an idle life.

"But, sister dear, the kind of man we always meet—the man who lives an idle life between society and his clubs—I could not love a man like that."

After their dinner, Chandler escorted Miss Marian to the corner where they had first met. They said their goodbyes, and Miss Marian walked away, her limp barely noticeable. Chandler took a cab home, reflecting on the evening and the girl he had met. He wondered if things would have been different had he told her the truth about his life instead of pretending to be someone he was not.

Unbeknownst to Chandler, Miss Marian was actually from a wealthy family. She had left her home wearing a simple dress and hat to run an errand and had enjoyed the experience of being mistaken for a working-class girl. Upon returning home, she told her sister about the kind man she had met and how she wished he had ambition and a purpose in life. The encounter left a lasting impression on both Chandler and Miss Marian, highlighting the importance of honesty and ambition in their lives.